Earlier today, I sent a response to the consultation on the draft Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration that is being carried out by the Office of the First Minister and the deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland (OFMDFM) and finishes tomorrow 29 October 2010.
My covering letter which goes with the response is outlined below.
The Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats welcome the publication of this draft Programme by OFMDFM, but we are concerned at the lack of demonstrable targets and outcomes; at the lack of any timetable for taking this programme forward; and at the lack of inclusion of proposed costed proposals for how these are to be achieved in the future by the Northern Ireland Executive, which would show the commitment of the Executive to taking this programme forward.
In our response we refer to areas of Northern Irish community and society which have been excluded from this draft programme which really should be ground-breaking and inclusive. These include people with disabilities, women, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans, as well as those who are victims from the last forty years or so of violence in our community.
It is our belief that those who are LGBT in Northern Ireland are particularly vulnerable. As illustrations of this we include references to the OFMDFM-sponsored research which is contained in the report An acceptable prejudice? written by Jarman and Tennant, together with statistics that have been supplied by The Rainbow Project and also Dr Duncan Morrow of the Community Relations Council.
Our response has the support of DELGA (LGBT Liberal Democrats) and a copy of the letter of support from the Chair of DELGA, Adrian Trett, is enclosed as well.
As Liberal Democrats, we exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, and it is our belief that the final Programme for Cohesion, Strategy and Integration as amended following public consultatioin, could be one way forward towards this goal. However, we stress that this ‘fair, free and open society’ should be one in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
The full text of our response is shown below:
The text of the consultation document as issued by OFMDFM can be found here.